Queen Coal? Why Remember Women of the 1984/85 Miners' Strike
Positive Responses to Women's Roles
The extracts below are from interviews recorded with 47 miners wives who were active in the 'Women Against Pit Closures' movement. The interviews are transcr ibed and held in the Women's Library, London in a collection called The Betty Heathfield Papers.
"We’ve become feminists in our own kind of way but we’re not true feminists . . . I like my old man to still know he’s boss. I’ve got mixed feeling because now I want to be equal to him, but I want him to still wear the trousers in the house. Before the strike, if I’d have known I was going to talk to some lesbians, I’d have died. But they’re only like us. They are normal people. They are just like you and me. And they talk like you and me. That’s something I’ve learned. I could never be a true feminist. Honest. Although I think women should be equal. And be as equal. I’d never go down the pits! I’m a coward!"
"Before the strike, I was housebound. I could only go out in my wheelchair when my husband came home from work of my kids came home from school. But the girls in the Support Group have taken me to every part of the country in rallies that I would have said ‘Ooh no. Impossible. I could never . . .’ There have been no obstacles in the way. And that is true friendship. It is not because they thought they were doing me a blood favour. They said ‘You are secretary of the group. You’ve got to come along. Those wheels have got to be your spare legs’. And they’ve taken me to every single where. Now it’s over and I can’t afford to let these girls go. Because to me they’re everything. We’re going to Blackpool in September. I’ve never been to Blackpool in my bloody life. They don’t want a bloody old dog like me in a wheelchair. But they’re bloody taking me."
Download the worksheet on 'For Women's Roles' to read more women's experiences of their families and communities during the 1984/85 Miners' Strike.
Read about 'Positive Responses to Women in working in mines' during Victorian times